Custom Routes with Navigon on iphone

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Import your custom routes to a jailbroken iphone using the Navigon Mobile Navigator and be guided smartly by bluetooth dongle!

Ok, let’s face it: the iphone just rocks. BUT: it has some caveats that are just not the kind of usability one would expect. One of these issues is reeeally annoying and it drives me nuts. here we go:

There is just no way you can import a custom route you planned in some other routing software such as Garmin Basecamp, GPSies, Bikemap, etc. to name a few, to your iphone and actually be GUIDED/NAVIGATED by some navigation software ie. Navigon MobileNavigator, CoPilot, TomTom, etc.Why would someone want this? Easy – you can be navigated by bluetooth headset for example which is absolutely essential, if you have to pay attention to the traffic around you! Usually a navigation system would come to use in an area you don’t know your way though urban area. You fight with traffic lights, roads you have never seen, buses rumbling by as if it was the Hockenheim Ring and Ferrari to be overtaken and so on… To make it short: you are under stress and the best thing you can have is a navigation system guiding you through this mess. This works perfectly alright, if you just want to hit your point of interest in the shortest or fastest way possible. Lets say, you know exactly where to go and have an even better route or a round course. This may affect cyclists training, bike riders on a sunday outing or a tourist hangout with some friends you are having round. Now what? There is just no chance in going any specific route. You cannot plan them on the device properly so external software is needed. Problem is – there is no way to import those routes. That is waht I call bad usability. Anyway – there is a workaround for all of you, who run into these issues and want them solved:

You do need a jailbroken iphone though! Best practice is, to go ahead and jailbreak it – now, that it is legal – and connect to your phone via any SSH client (WinSCP as freeware for Win$hit or take Transmit for mac OSX). I have a mac and operate with Transmit, which is best, I can tell you. Problem is, the Navigon Mobile Navigator uses a file type called .targets so you need to convert any Garmin, TomTom or standard GPX Routes into .targets – not easy on a mac! On windows you are in luck. Download the little converter tool called ITN Converter and install it on your windoze machine. I use a VM for this :-)

How to convert:

1. plan a route in some route planning software

2. export the route from your planner software and import it to ITN Converter.

3. Leave all settings as they are – Filetype Navigon MN 7, iphone….etc (shown in pictures below), click export, give the route a name and ADD the file type .targets to your filename. click save. Takes a while to save, don’t panic. Depends on how many waypoints you have.

4. transfer this route to your iphone now via the SSH client to the CORRECT FOLDER: here is the path: /private/var/mobile/Applications/a-very-long-digit-random-numbercode/NAVIGON.app/Documents/Routes/    (remember: you need to find out, which folder the app is in – it takes a while to figure out behind which big number salad the navigator hides)

5. run the Navigon MobileNavigator on your phone, click through the menu: „more“ —> „route“ —> „load route“ —-> „your test route“

6. Tadaaaa! It shows you the route waypoints, click „calculate route“ and it shows you your route in a little preview with all your waypoints. As this is a workaround and waypoint functionality not yet implemented offically it kinda hangs for a second every time you reach a waypoint and then catches up again and continues navigating. Not ideal but hey – you’re on your way!

PRO: You can train on your racing bike while being navigated via bluetooth and have some lovely songs from the ipod kick the hell out of you! Now, how cool is that? You can concentrate on training and traffic and have the most efficiant workout ever without stopping for a look on oldschool maps!

CON: The routing is not quite fluent as waypoints are not natively supported yet. Remember to add as few waypoints as possible on your route to keep this issue limited. It needs some technical skills and jailbreak to get these routes on your phone.

Have fun with his solution.